Over the past 10 years, Firmus Financial—the local real estate fund I help manage—has invested in a wide range of projects in multiple markets across the country, that have included apartment complex rehabilitation and townhome development. And while it has been a rewarding process to provide renovated and new housing in other regions, it was a longstanding desire of ours to collaborate on something more local.
That opportunity presented itself 6 years ago, when we met Tim Gordin and Jamileh Cannon. The couple had just started their design/build firm, Workbench, having recently moved to the area from the East Bay where they had a background in construction and development—Tim as a contractor and Jamileh as an architect for a larger firm specializing in high-density housing. They were in contract to buy their first self-sponsored project, with a parcel which included a couple of older homes on a little over an acre of land in Soquel that was optimally zoned to build either apartments or townhomes.
After reviewing their credentials and the attributes of the property we determined it a good fit, and Firmus agreed to help back the new Residential Development using proceeds from a land deal in Fresno to raise the balance of funds needed to close escrow. We were also able to provide the financial strength to help secure the purchase and construction financing. And my property management division took care of placing new tenants and managing the two older homes to help cover the monthly carrying costs as we settled in for the anticipated 2-3 years of planning, entitlement and permitting.
Then COVID hit, and with it came delays in the approval process, followed by delays and cost overruns due to material shortages, supply chain issues and labor shortages. And just as we started to come out of the throes of the Pandemic, we were hit with tightening lender guidelines and soaring interest rates, along with some of the worst weather on record. Through it all, our team has weathered every storm and found ways to bring the additional funding needed to keep the project going, and I have to say it feels a little surreal to now be bringing The Dwellings of Soquel to market.
We were able to save and renovate the 2 existing homes, moving one to a different site in the process to make way for newly-created Darlington Lane, which is getting paved this week. In all, we were able to add 13 new townhomes to the property and they are turning out beautifully with a modern design acumen that still evokes a traditional feel.
There are 3 available floor plans that range from to 1424 SF to 1694 SF, and they are priced between $1,150,000 and $1,475,000. We are also providing two low-income units which will be made available on a lottery basis in collaboration with the Housing Authority.
The Dwellings of Soquel are on track to be able to view by this Memorial Day weekend with a furnished model on-site, and in the meantime you can view the full floor plans, descriptions and details, plus pre-register at www.thedwellingsofsoquel.com.